The Government in partnership with private sector groups to develop a programme to provide humanitarian support to persons most affected by the impact of the pandemic COVID19 and the outfall of the downturn in our Tourism led economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most urgent health, economic, and social crises the world has faced. The Caribbean is also staggering in the wake of COVID-19, which has already negatively affected the tourism and service sectors across the region, adversely impacting the mainly small and open economies such as the Turks and Caicos Islands. In an effort to halt the spread of the virus, the TCI Government, like many other Governments throughout the World had to resolve to drastic measures and close down its borders and implement stringent measures of curfew orders. As a result of these measures, and the slowdown of the economy, it is anticipated that many individuals will inevitably become vulnerable.
It is recognized that a multi-sectoral response is needed to meet immediate health emergency care and response needs, while ensuring that a social safety net is created to support people whose income may drastically reduce during this crisis, and to protect the rights of the most vulnerable citizens, The Hon. Karen Malcolm, Minister with responsibility for the Department of Social Development and its mandate to assist those in need and ensuring the protection of the weak and vulnerable is actively engaged and has chaired several meetings with multi-sectoral working groups comprising of public and private sector groups such as members of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA), Red Cross, and Salvation Army to develop strategies and leverage existing resources that could be harnessed in support as humanitarian aid to those most vulnerable in our society as a result of this pandemic.
The Minister, Karen Malcom stated, “During these times, with the many challenges our country is facing, our vulnerable populations still remain at the forefront of our priorities. We are taking an active role in ensuring that families do not go hungry and are able to feed their children. I applauded the goodwill and kind gesture of support we have received thus far from the private sector, NGO and PPS and wish to encourage other private sector business that wish to join us in this humanitarian effort to reach out to us at HumanitarianEfforts-COVID19@gov.tc and make your pledge. The public private partnership is seeking to provide assistance to help alleviate some of the worries and stress associated.”
The Committee is working with Churches, District Commissioners, Community leaders and private sector groups to update and expand the existing list of persons that would be in need of humanitarian support. Given the peculiarities of this pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing, it is not advisable to establish standard soup kitchen, as such plans are afoot to establish an efficient front door delivery system to all registered persons. Over the coming days, in addition to the current list being compiled of existing and persons who are known to become vulnerable, the Department of Social Services will publish contact details (email address and telephone numbers) and invite persons who are in need of social assistance to register with the Department of Social Services.
The TCIG is taking a whole of country collaborative approach in combating the consequences of this pandemic.